The Importance of Regular Exercise as You Age

If you’re an aging baby boomer like me (born between 1946 and 1964), you probably feel, at times, the adverse effects that aging can have on your body. If you’re looking to feel better as you age and help prevent what is commonly referred to as boomeritisthen you need to exercise and be smart about what you’re doing and how long you’re doing it. The variable that most people don’t understand, however, is the volume aspect. When you’re ready to increase the volume of work, do so in a safe, progressive manner (i.e. no more than a 5-10% increase per week) and your body will return the favor by feeling more energized come next workout.

older high hurdlerWith aging, comes the onslaught of body fat and loss of muscle and strength. As you age you lose muscle (known as sarcopenia) and add body fat (it’s inevitable like death and taxes). Consistent exercise, especially strength training will help retard (slow down) the process. Why exercise? Because the average person between age 30 and 60 tends to add about one to two pounds of body weight each year if exercise and nutritional modification are not in the picture. The small weight gain may not seem like a big deal, I know, but that’s an additional 30 pounds or more over that time period. This tends to put more stress on your heart and may negatively effect other parts of the body as well. Couple that with the loss of muscle at a rate of about half-a-pound per year (five pounds per decade) and you have a real uphill battle in front of you. The magic pill that is available for you is exercise, especially strength training. Building strength as you age will not only fight off sarcopenia but will also keep your metabolism elevated and maintain functionality and improve balance. If you’re not currently doing any of this…start now…start slowly…be progressive…and most importantly, be consistent. Here is a great paper I recently re-read on sarcopenia (also read R. Roubenoff).

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